Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
IN 1977, the entire planet was foaming at the mouth for anything Star Wars. The frenzy continued for several years with piles of Star Wars products flooding the stores daily. It seemed all you needed to do was bear a passing resemblance to the film or utter the words “star” and/or “wars” and your product would sell like hotcakes.
Before the medly, here’s a dose of Carrà making Eleanor Rigby into her own. (And – boy- she can have it):. Dance Dance, Eleanor.
RECENT rumours about Space Jam II (purportedly to star Le Bron James…) serve as a good reminder that the science fiction cinema and the game of basketball are inextricably linked.
Well, not really.
But sci-fi and basketball at least have something of a common history.
IN 1984, Smash Hits magazine invited Morrissey to review the latest pop sounds.
Highlights are many:
Spotter: Geek Tragedy
MORRISSEY, quite possibly the most tedious popstar ever created, is being all contrary again, giving withering looks and claiming that he doesn’t know a soul who wants a Smiths reunion.
Maybe that’s true because, in actual fact, he doesn’t have any friends or indeed, is surrounded solely by sycophants.
In an interview with Billboard, he said:
“I don’t know a single person who wants a Smiths reunion! But, no, there aren’t any bands I like to see again because your memory of them is how they were in their prime or at their best or at their most desperate, and you look to them to be someone that they no longer are.”
ON February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for giving life to Mammy, the Gone with the Wind house servant. Fay Bainter heralded McDaniel by telling the audience that the gong “opens the doors of this room, moves back the walls, and enables us to embrace the whole of America….”
I VERY happily grew up with Sir Roger Moore in the role of Ian Fleming’s James Bond, and thus maintain a deep well of affection and nostalgia for his seven films…even if some Bond fans do not
Moore’s epoch as Agent 007 isn’t usually considered the most creatively fertile time in the franchise’s history, in part because the Bond films of the day pursued “hot” movie trends instead of initiating them, as had been the case in the 1960s.
To wit, the Bond movies of the Moore era attempted to jump on the bandwagon of Blaxploitation cinema (Live and Let Die ), martial arts/Kung-Fu films (The Man with the Golden Gun ), and even the Star Wars craze (Moonraker ).
Despite the fact that Bond films of this time period seem desperate to pinpoint some – any — pop culture relevance, the Roger Moore efforts nonetheless boast some surprising character moments that could have been ripped straight from the novels…and Fleming’s literary descriptions of the character.
For instance, at least two films of the Roger Moore era (The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only) make explicit mention of the character’s tragic history — namely his dead wife, Tracy — a background that the last Connery film, Diamonds are Forever (1971) totally ignored.
Although it is undeniable that some James Bond films of the Roger Moore indeed tread heavily into unfortunate slapstick comedy (see: the pigeon doing a double-take at a gondola-turned-hovercraft in Moonraker), the actor’s finest moments in the famous role arrive not when he is called upon to play scenes broadly or cheekily, but rather when he is tasked with expressing Bond’s humanity.
Some of these “human” moments are small, even throwaway ones, but each one reminds the audience that 007 is not just a superhuman quipster in a white-dinner jacket. He’s still a man who bleeds, sweats, and struggles.
In chronological order then, here are five character moments from the James Bond Era of Roger Moore:
From The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Bond talks to agent Triple XXX (Barbara Bach) about the fact that he murdered her lover.
The Spy Who Loved Me sees British and Russian intelligence join up to solve the mystery of several missing nuclear submarines. Britain’s finest, Bond, and Russia’s – XXX — join forces, and trace the missing subs back to a man named Stromberg (Curt Jurgen).
In a scene set in Sardinia, where Stromberg is headquartered, XXX confronts Bond about the fact that he may have murdered her lover three weeks earlier, on an unconnected assignment.
Bond turns away from XXX (and the audience), before he answers her accusation. Finally, he tells her that it’s hard to know who you kill when you’re racing on skis at 40 miles an hour…but yes, he did kill her lover. At this point, she informs Bond that after their mission is done, she will murder him.
This scene reminds the audience both of the constant danger in Bond’s profession, and its emotional toll upon him. Moore doesn’t rush the scene, or play it lightly. Instead, he takes his time with Bond’s response, giving us time to wonder how Bond will answer. It’s a balancing act for 007, because if he tells XXX the truth, their mission together will be imperiled. But he also feels he owes her the truth…so he gives it to her.
Bond’s sense of duty and moral code is on display in this scene, and Moore gets that aspect of the character absolutely right.
The longer that Bond is in the business of killing people, the more bodies will pile up, and the more angry spouses or family members he will be forced to confront. From this scene, we understand very clearly how Bond’s profession separates him from other people, even from other people in the spy business.
From Moonraker (1979): A rattled Bond — nearly pulped in a sabotage training centrifuge — pushes away Dr. Holly Goodhead (Loise Chiles) as she tries to help him.
This is an almost throwaway moment, but it occurs early in the 1979 film. Bond is visiting the complex of industrialist Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), and Drax has secretly ordered that “some harm” come to him on a tour of the facility.
Dr. Holly Goodhead – secretly a CIA agent — convinces Bond to try out a training centrifuge, but then steps away, unwittingly leaving the villainous henchman Chang (Toshira Suga) to sabotage the machinery, and nearly kill Bond.
An apologetic Goodhead returns after Bond has disabled the deadly machine, and worriedly asks 007 what happened.
Instead of answering, he staggers out of the centrifuge, pushes her aside roughly, and is clearly pissed.
He doesn’t want to talk.
He doesn’t want to relate.
He’s angry, and this moment reveals that Moore’s Bond isn’t always suave or slick, or on the make. This is one of the few times in the Moore films that we see Bond genuinely ruffled, and knocked off-kilter.
In this moment, audiences see a hurt and angry Bond, one who momentarily rejects civility and who hasn’t yet restored his façade of charm.
It’s a telling — if brief — moment for the character. The ever-present mask of composure falls away.
From Moonraker (1979): Bond saves 100,000 people from nerve gas…without quipping.
At the end of Moonraker, Bond and Goodhead board a space shuttle, Moonraker 5, and attempt to destroy three globes in Earth orbit.
If these globes re-enter the atmosphere, they’ll spew toxic nerve gas across whole continents. Bond destroys two without breaking a sweat, but can’t draw a bead on the third and final canister. He must switch to “manual” control to target it when things get rough.
Meanwhile, both the globe and the shuttle are making bumpy re-entry…
Now, on first blush, this moment might seem like a retread of Star Wars’ finale, with Luke Skywalker switching to manual control to lob two proton torpedoes into the Death Star vent.
But — wholly unexpectedly — this moment proves to the most suspenseful and tense of the entire film, which too often trends towards slapstick humor.
Moore has been accused of playing the 007 character “lightly,” but here he plays the character as hyper-focused and severe. Bond often carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he has never undertaken that task as literally as he does in Moonraker (1979), with whole populations imperiled. He has one shot to save the world, so he better make the most of it…
There are no quips, no smiles, and no trademark charm.
Instead, we get an extreme close-up of a tense man in action. Just lots of sweat and those piercing, laser-sharp blue eyes…
From For Your Eyes Only (1981): James Bond kicks a car off a cliff
For Your Eyes Only is far and away Roger Moore’s best Bond film, a grounded, action-packed follow-up to the outer space extravaganza of Moonraker. The film features many great action scenes, particularly the final mountain climbing set-piece, which endures as another masterpiece of escalating suspense.
But in terms of character moments, Moore gets a great one in this movie.
Near the end of For Your Eyes Only, he fights a merciless assassin, Locque (Michael Gothard). Locque has been killing agents and Bond’s allies throughout the whole film, and now Bond finally has him cornered, his car perched on the edge of a rocky cliff.
In his car, Locque panics at his precarious predicament, but things get worse when Bond approaches, and tosses him a keepsake: the “Dove” pin Locque left behind at several crime scenes.
Bond returns the pin to Locque….and then kicks the fucker’s car off the cliff.
Again, there’s nothing light or jokey about this moment. Bond is judge, jury and executioner, and he dispatches Locque with blunt, brutal finality. There are times for compassion and times for humor…and this isn’t one of them. Instead, Bond wordlessly metes out justice. He does so in one fluid movement.
This is the very moment, perhaps, when many Bond fans realized how ill-served Roger Moore had been by some of the Bond scripts. He was capable of being as tough, but rarely had the opportunity to flex that muscle. He shows here that he can capture Bond’s grace, and killer instinct…with perfect economy.
From Octopussy (1983): Bond explains to Octopussy (Maud Adams) how he treated her father.
In Octopussy, Bond travels to India and meets the mysterious smuggler called Octopussy on her private island. She asks him a question about an old case, and there’s every chance their meeting could go fatally wrong. Specifically, Octopussy asks if Bond remembers Major Dexter Smythe.
Bond does remember.
Turns out he was a British agent turned thief who Bond was tasked with bringing into custody. But instead of merely arresting the criminal, Bond gave the man twelve hours to get his affairs in order. Rather than be publicly disgraced, the major took his own life.
Octopussy is his daughter, and she is grateful that Bond gave Smythe time to consider his fate, and avoid public disgrace for his family.
Once more, we are confronted with Bond’s code of ethics. He may be licensed to kill and serve Her Majesty’s Secret Service but he’s not a monster, and when he goes into the field, he interprets orders, rather than simply obeying them. As I wrote above, there are times for compassion, and this story reveals such a time.
Again, Moore is particularly good in this scene because Bond is in a bind. Lie to avoid consequences? Or tell the truth and face them?
He picks the latter, and earns Octopussy’s respect for his honesty (as well as historical behavior). The message is that this Bond is a man of honor.
These days, the Bond films are serious, emotional affairs about a wounded warrior, and that’s all to the good. It’s easy to look back at the Bond films of the 1970s and decry them as being silly or inconsequential by comparison.
Many aspects of the films do fit that bill, but Sir Roger Moore was the 007 for my generation, and — in moments like the ones I enumerated above – I’m glad he was on the job.
EVERY city in the world follows the same pattern. Deprived area is cheap. All the artists move there and it gets hip. Hipsters follow the artists and the rents go up. The rents go up alongside the appearance of coffee houses and falafel bars. Formerly deprived area now no longer considered scummy, gets filled with wealthy web-designers and their awful children and no-one who originally lived in the area can afford the rent and has to move. They move to another scummy area and the cycle continues.
We all know this. This is always the way. However, Spike Lee doesn’t like it one bit.
THE swines at the City of Austin have mystifyingly refused to allow Lady Gaga a permit to play in a giant Doritos vending machine at the SXSW festival.
Mother Monster had been all set to play at the festival’s Doritos Stage (gee whizz, what a crappy name) which is mocked up to look like a huge dispensing machine. However, the show will not go on thanks to concerns over public safety.
Like anyone should be concerned for the public’s safety at a festival. Seriously. All festival goers either willingly jeopardise their own well-being or, failing that, deserve everything they get.
Don Pitts of Austin’s Music And Entertainment division said: “Our conclusion was based primarily on public safety concerns… We look at the size and capacity of the location covered by the permit being sought and how it fits with the anticipated attendance, based on event capacity and promotion. At the end of the day, it’s a parking lot.”
Even better! A giant vending machine in a car park! With Lady GaGa in it! How great would that have been?
Of course GaGa can still play at the event, but only if she can find herself a location with “the necessary permanent infrastructure”. Presumably, the ground we all stand on is not necessarily permanent enough.
SKA music gets into your bones.
In is essay The Chop On The Upbeat, John Jeremiah Sullivan looks at the birth of ska, the music that make you dance – and that anyone can dance well to:
Once, writing about Bunny [Wailer], I spent the better part of a week getting completely out of my mind and surfing through songs, trying to pinpoint the emergence, from the chrysalis, of the ska sound. I wanted to be able to hold the evolution of it in my head, just for a minute, to say how it happened, session by session. You can’t really do it. Even when you know everything, I mean. There were too many active participants, too many shared influences, you’re inside an echo chamber with two hundred people shouting. Also there’s a weird fuzzy period between the rhythmic shot over the bow of “Easy Snappin’” (1957? 1958?—we’re not even sure) and 1960–61, when a little cluster of very ska-like songs gets recorded, in not entirely certain order.
TOUGH week for Katy Perry. First off, and most pertinent to her well being, she’s split up with fellow superstar John Mayer. She’ll be upset by that no doubt, but alas, she should be aware that the whole of religion is pretty pissed off with her too.
You see, Katy’s new video for Dark Horse has been criticised by religious groups for being blasphemous!
I HESITATED using the word “worst” since many of these are novelty songs, which are intentionally strange or humorous rather than attempting to be a genuinely serious musical composition. However, that doesn’t erase the fact that they, like all the songs in this list, are simply unlistenable, intolerable, and unbearable. These songs are so bad you will be tempted to escape and click your “back” button. But I encourage you to see it through – press on, and see what sort of stuff you’re made of.
WHEN someone in Hip Hop does something bad, it gets blanket coverage. Papers will run stories about artists big in the rap game, but not exactly household names. Worse still for those that are well known. They’re hauled over coals and every two-bit writer starts penning opinion pieces on whether or not Hip Hop is inherently bad, while offering mealy-mouthed “hey, some of my best friends are rap albums!” by way of cred-seeking.
Hip Hop’s cousin, Heavy Metal (or Hard Rock, or whatever) is usually the only one willing to give rappers a day off. When Metal is tacked to a crime, people start writing worthless pieces about devil worshipping and using disenfranchised lyrics as proof that rock bands actually want their fans to commit crimes.
Daily Mail’s Jobsite Refuses To Find Work For ‘Incomprehensible’ Piers Morgan (The Paper’s Columnist)
PIERS Morgan, removed from his chatshow slot by CNN, is the subject of a tweet by Jobsite:
Jobsite is owned by DMG media – owners of the,yep, Daily Mail, where Morgan is employed to write about his fabulous life.
PIERS Morgan’s CNN TV show is to end.
Three years after taking over for Larry King, ratings for Piers Morgan Live have not matched rivals such as Fox News and MSNBC causing network president Jeffrey Zucker to decide to pull the plug on the British journalist….
‘It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,’ Morgan told The New York Times.
Plans for a replacement are underway, but Morgan and the network are in talks about him remaining on the air in a different role.
RECENTLY, you may have seen the terrible depiction of Kurt Cobain in statue form, in Aberdeen (the American one, not the Scottish one). The statue, below, features Cobain looking like a wino busker, crying.
Actually crying. Because Kurt was so sensitive. Maaaaaaaan.
Of course, most people’s memories of Kurt where a little more fun and energetic, rather than the maudlin monstrosity that is roundly being mocked by the whole internet.
Of course, Kurt Cobain isn’t the only famous person to get a statue of themselves. Crucially, he’s not the only famous person to have a UTTERLY DREADFUL statue cluttering up the world.
Benny Hill wanted his women to be more naive than he was, women who would look up to him. He also said it was fellatio he wanted, or masturbation. “But Bob, I get a thrill when they’re kneeling there, between my knees and they’re looking up at me. And I want them to call me Mr Hill, not Benny. ‘Is that all right for you , Mr Hill?’ That’s lovely, that is, I really like that,” I asked him why and he said, “well, it’s respectful.” – Bob Monkhouse (from Mark Lewisohn’s Benny Hill biography – ‘Funny, Peculiar’).
ON the morning of 19th April 1992, which was Easter Sunday morning that year, and just two hours after he had been speaking to a television producer about the possibility of yet another come-back, 75 year-old Frankie Howerd collapsed and died of heart failure.
Benny Hill, who was seven years younger than Howerd, was quoted in the press as being “very upset” and was reported as saying, “We were great, great friends”. Indeed they had been friends but he hadn’t given a quote about his fellow comedian, he hadn’t been asked for one – he couldn’t have been – because he was already dead.
A PRIME reason for heavy metal’s success is that it is a culture unto itself. Fads come and go, but a culture has staying power. It comes with its own dress code, etiquette and idolatry. A small but important part of that culture is the album cover – the visual representation of the music, the heart of the heavy metal universe. If you’re a metal band, it’s imperative you get this facet right. So, let’s tour through some metal covers from the 1980s, a time when heavy metal was king, and learn from their successes and failures.
LESSON 1: THE 6 REQUIREMENTS
THE Sun continues to be amazed that single, successful women have sex. But it realises that women who do have sex (as is alleged) would prefer to remain anonymous. Men, on the other hand ,would like everyone know who they’ve shagged.
Both scoops are from today’s pisspoor Sun on Sunday.
(Bring back the News of The World. We miss it.)
IDIOTS keep saying the music industry is dying. Of course it isn’t. Have you seen how much money they spent on The Brits? If they’re skint, award shows would be held in a pub function room with darts trophies handed to the three remaining artists who have been daft enough to sign to a record company.
No, the record industry is doing just fine.
ALBERT Hall was born in Kansas…on a farm. He was not born in London. He is not to be confused with the concert Hall.
FLASHBACK to August 3, 1972: Little Richard, the American rock singer, is seen with a football for a change. He and ‘screaming’ Lord Sutch, who is carrying a parrot at the Stadium in Wembley.
Well, they would buy it once they’re pocket had been emptied by this TV advert: